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19 Summer Music Festival Essentials For Photographers

19 Summer Music Festival Essentials For Photographers  - Here's our essential packing list for photographers who are heading to one of the many festivals this summer.

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iPhone 8 Plus in General Photography

Festival

 

So, you've booked your weekend pass, bought your tent and have got your clashfinder (a free, printable timetable for an event) at the ready but what other essentials do you need as someone who's going to a festival with photography, as well as having an amazing time, in mind? We talk you through some of the essentials you may not have thought of to help keep the shots (photographic, not alcoholic) flowing. 

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Camera Choices

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 320
 

At most festivals, you can't take 'professional looking cameras' in but at smaller, more local events you may be OK to take your beloved mirrorless interchangeable lens camera or DSLR. If you're playing it safe with a compact, you want one with plenty of reach and if it's 'tough', even better.

We've recently updated our top best zoom camera article as well as our top waterproof camera feature so they're well worth checking out if you're thinking about purchasing a compact for the festival season. The three top waterproof cameras listed are the Olympus Tough TG-5,  Olympus Tough TG-4 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 while the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ80Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ200 sit at the top of our 10 Best Pocket Zoom list. 

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Lenses

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR.

 

If you can take your interchangeable camera and lenses in, a fast prime is what most recommend. We've reviewed and scored plenty of bright prime lenses but one that stands out for its reasonable price, as well as performance, is the Samyang 50mm f/1.2 AS UMC CS.

Other choices include a telephoto that will get you closer to the stage without you having to fight the crush of the pit while a wide-angle lens will give you the chance to capture wider shots of the action on and off stage. If you want to travel a little lighter, pack a superzoom lens such as the Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD or Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR. Take a look at our 10 Top Superzooms article to see what other lenses we recommend. 

If you're taking your smartphone instead of your camera, you may want to consider purchasing a lens attachment, such as the Lensbaby Creative Mobile Kit, that gives you the opportunity to be a little more creative with your smartphone photography. 

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Smartphone

Iphone 8 Plus (1)
 

Smartphones have pretty decent cameras on them now so you don't really have to take your camera to a festival to capture memorable photos of the weekend. You may have to get in the pit if you want close-up shots of your heroes on stage but for general shots of festival goers, tents, fairground rides and other festival activities, you won't have any issues. We've recently reviewed the Apple iPhone 8 Plus, which found its way into our best 'smartphone for photographers' list.

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Memory

Memory cards

 

If you're planning on taking lots of photos you're going to need somewhere to store them all. Some opt for 1 large memory card while others prefer to take a few smaller ones. Whichever method you decide, make sure you have the right type of memory card and something to store them in if you're taking more than one with you. We have more information on memory cards in our round-ups: Best Micro-SD Cards & Best SD Memory Cards.

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Batteries

Nikon EN-EL19 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery

 

If you have a spare camera battery, take it but do remember to charge it before you go as giving a dead battery enough juice to get it working again in the middle of a field won't be the easiest of tasks. Try to preserve your battery as much as possible, too, by reserving from previewing every shot you capture and remembering to turn it off when you're not using it. 

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Solar Charger

Solar Charger

Solar chargers are great for giving devices a boost of power and some are pocket sized so won't take up too much room. You can even fasten some solar chargers to backpacks so they're in daylight while you're enjoying what the festival has to offer. 

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Waterproof Housing 

Underwater Waterproof Protective Housing Case For GoPro Hero 3 Camera

 

If the camera you're taking with you isn't waterproof then you might want to invest in waterproof housing for it at festivals, particularly in the UK, have a habit of getting a little wet. 

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Rain Cover For Lens / Camera

Mudder Rain Cover Camera Protector Rainproof for Canon Nikon and Other Digital SLR Cameras

 

Usually slightly less expensive than waterproof housing, a rain cover protector is designed to protect your camera from any unexpected weather condition and when you're at a festival, you really do need to be prepared for all weather! 

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Mobile Phone Charger 

Anker Charger

You can now purchase a pocket-sized charger that will power your smartphone's battery on-the-go so if you plan on taking plenty of festival selfies as well as snaps of the action on stage, one of these won't take up too much room in your backpack. Various sizes and styles are available so do check that the model you're looking at does fit your camera specifically. 

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Portable Hard Drive

Portable SSD

 

Taking a small portable SSD drive with you, such as the Samsung Portable SSD T3 we reviewed earlier this year, will mean you have somewhere to backup images to so you always have a second copy saved just in case. 

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Wrist Strap

Wrist strap

 

If you wear a camera strap around your neck while in a busy crowd at a festival it's probably going to end badly as you may get tugged with it and hurt yourself. Instead, wear a wrist strap so if your camera does get knocked, the wrist strap will prevent it from hitting the floor. 

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Torch

Torch

 

Festivals aren't lit very well so when leaving the arena after a day of music or when searching through your backpack, you'll probably find a torch handy to have. 

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Lens Cloth

 

A microfiber cleaning cloth will remove streaks and marks from camera lenses so smears don't spoil your shots. The super soft microfibre which will gently clean any surface and leave no damaging scratches.

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Suncream

Sunscreen

 

This is an essential piece of kit you shouldn't leave home without. Even if rain's forecast for much of the weekend, take suncream with you as you never know when the sun will come out. 

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Reusable Water Bottle 

 

 

Plenty of liquid is a must when outdoors at a festival, even more so in summer, so don't forget your water bottle as there will be free stations you can fill your bottle up with water which means you don't have to pay them, what can be, expensive prices for a beverage. 

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Good Footwear

Boots

 

You're going to be on your feet, pretty much, all day so a decent pair of boots/shoes that are, ideally, waterproof and durable is an essential piece of kit. Walking boots are ideal as they offer good support for ankles but many do like to opt for wellies instead. 

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Suitable Clothing 

jacket

 

Even though denim shorts and band t-shirts are cool, packing a waterproof jacket and if you really want to be prepared, waterproof trousers will mean you're prepared for any downpour that comes your way. 

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Decent Backpack 

Camera bag

 

You are allowed to take backpacks into the main music arena (you will be searched, however) which means you can safely transport your camera and other essentials for your day in front of the stage. We do have a couple of guides to camera bags if you plan on taking one that specifically designed with photographers in mind: Complete Buyers Guide to Camera Bags and How To Choose The Ideal Camera Bag.

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Ear Plugs

Earplugs

 

Now, we know earplugs might seem a weird thing to be wearing at a music festival where you want to hear the bands but if you plan on spending lots of time next to the stage and speakers, your ears are going to take a hammering (professional music photographers wear them). To give them a break, if there's a band you just want to photograph rather than specifically listen to, put them in. They're also useful for busy campsites where noise is keeping you awake at night. 

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If you can think of any more essential kit for the photographer, feel free to list them below. 

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